Student Life Editor
KSC Pride held their annual Pride parade on Saturday, April 20, starting in the Madison Street Lounge.
The event was originally supposed to take place outside on the Student Center lawn but due to weather conditions, the event was moved into the Madison Street Lounge.
KSC Pride is a club to help celebrate and accept the LGBT community on campus. Laurel Mendelsohn is the club’s President this year and said she wants people to see acceptance in their everyday lives, “I really hope that a lot of students will be able to see the visibility of Pride and to be able to connect with others. I hope that people will be able to connect and really feel solid in the fact that they’re accepted at Keene State College and in our community. I hope that they will see that in their everyday.”
Mendelsohn also said the club has come a long way in getting activities going for students, “We’ve worked a lot to kind of build the organization for the coming year, especially around this event the Pride parade. We’ve worked to get more tabling and get more activities happening rather than just the march itself.”
The volunteers at the door gave out Pride prizes for the first 100 people and participants had the opportunity to make buttons, tie-dye shirts, color, etc. which was then followed by opening remarks, raffle drawings and guest speakers throughout the day. Chock Full O’ Notes, Keene State’s acapella group, performed three songs and food was provided.
President Melinda Treadwell gave the opening speech and thanked everyone for coming. She said that it made her happy to see a sense of community and that she was able to support students. After her speech, Treadwell said that she sometimes worries about the climate some students may feel and wants a safe space for those students. “I care about making sure that we have a safe place and place for folks to become their true authentic self. It’s part of our discussion, always at the cabinet. And I worry because we know that when young people feel isolated and alone they become more vulnerable, more prone to depression, more prone at risk for suicide,” Treadwell said.
Treadwell said events like Pride give students an alternative and lets them see opportunities they may have not seen before, “When you come to an event like this you see that there are dozens and dozens and dozens of people who love you, who are their own individual selves and they care just as much about you as you would hope someone does.”
For first-year volunteer Colette Rinker, being in the LGBT community has benefitted her life at Keene State, “It’s just a part of me that happens to be like ‘hey, I’m bi, here you go!’ and so being able to know that there is a community that I can still go to for that part of me is really reassuring and makes me feel more at home. I’ve met great people through it… It’s okay to be who you are, and we want to emphasize there is a community here at Keene State.”
First-year Phoebe Baade also said she felt like she made more connections being in the community and has made her more comfortable at Keene State, “I personally made many friends in the LGBT community, it seems like we all just kind of found each other so it was a very good connecting point and literally helped feel more involved in Keene and the community… I think it’s really important considering the past of the LGBT community, that we need to stick together and support each other in times that we feel most alone, or most separate or having political issues, it’s good to have a support system.”
Sara Olson, a junior at Keene State, gave a speech on allyship and inclusion on behalf of the Student Government. Olson, who identifies as straight, talked about the importance of being an ally and what it meant to her.
“Being an ally, to me, means listening and being supportive of the community, educating yourself whenever necessary without expecting member sof the community to educate you, to go out and educate yourself. It means being an active and visible supporter of the community.”
In her speech, Olson talked about her sorority Delta Phi Epsilon and their new regulations which allows anyone who identifies as transgender or nonbinary to be a sister in the sorority. Olson said the sorority just wants to be inclusive and give opportunities to anyone it can.
Students, along with community members, faculty and staff joined together at 2:30 p.m. to march through the campus and downtown of Keene. Mendelsohn said that this year was the first time in a while that Pride was going to march downtown and said it gave the club a better sense of connection to the Keene community and not just the college. Treadwell said that along with pride, other organizations and the students, Keene State can be a welcoming and accepting community, “I want this campus to be better and stand for more… It’s important that we talk about issues of identity and difference and we respect and love through it.”
If you would like more information on KSC Pride, you can contact Laurel Mendelsohn at email@example.com
Jack Hanson can be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org